Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Want to Homeschool; Now What? Schedule

"The effort of decision, we have seen, is the greatest effort of life; not the doing of the thing, but the making up of one's mind as to which thing to do first." 
 ~ Charlotte Mason (Vol. 1, p. 119)

Make Your Schedule

You've made your curriculum choice based on your method, and now you are ready to order your day.  There are about as may ways to schedule a school day as there are persons in the world.  Some people are very relaxed and just choose that morning the books to read for the day or simply pick up where they left off in math.  Some make a list of what they want to accomplish that week and mark it off as they get it done.  Some people schedule every day of their week.  And I've heard tell of those who schedule the very hours and minutes of the day.  There are also curricula that make a schedule for you and homeschool scheduling/organizing apps that you might find useful.  This will be another area of research for you because there are to be found excellent tips and tricks and plans for every personality.

Knowing that my personality will not work for everyone's way of scheduling, I'll share the procedure I've settled on for planning our school year.  It takes a bit of work on the front end (around June/July for us).  I started the different documents to satisfy our state requirements, but I kind of like having all the info printed out, so I'd probably make them anyway.   They help my brain figure out what it's thinking.

Curriculum Guide ~ First I create a guide for each child.  It includes every subject we will cover that year and what books or materials we'll use to cover them.  I won't have a totally completed guide until the end of the year because I add in memorization, handicrafts and various things that are decided on as the year progresses.  A lot of it is copied and pasted from the Ambleside Online site since they are our main curriculum.  I also spend time researching any new add-ons/changes such as musical instrument or handicrafts.  So this part can take several weeks to complete.  I'll share sample screen shots of documents for our Year 2 child, Jonathan.

Book List ~ Next I list all the books we'll use for each child.  Lots of copy and paste and rearrange here, but it doesn't take a ton of time.

Schedule ~ I've done many different versions of schedules, but I really like what I'm doing now.  Each child has a term's schedule made up (a term for us is 12 weeks).  Every subject/book gets a separate row.  Each week gets a certain number of circles next to each subject/book.  Math gets 5 circles since we'll do math every day; Latin gets 3 circles since we do it 3 times a week, etc.  I count up the circles for the week and divide by 5, and we check off the circles as we complete them each day.  So I make 3 schedules per child per year (but I only make the term as it comes up; I don't make all three terms at once since I like to evaluate how things are going and tweak things for the upcoming term).  This can take several hours to do, but I used to make a new schedule every week, so this way is much better!

Can you tell this is one of my favorite parts about homeschooling? ......the planning, research and scheduling.  If any of this is helpful, feel free to use it.  You definitely don't have to do all of this documentation ~ it is simply the way I've processed our school year.  But do find a way of organizing your homeschool that works for you.  

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